Saturday, 16 March 2019

Solo report: The Beetle


Occasionally I like to run a solo game. It allows me to play rulesets I've never had chance to look at and I can do it all on my own time.

Today I ran the upcoming edition of Romance of the Perilous Land using my own simple hacked up solo rules that I call Solo Cubes. It uses a d6 as an oracle, offering answers to questions (yes, yes but, no and etc). Anytime you get a 'but' or 'and', roll three Storycubes and interpret. I also use a raft of random tables to give me names, towns, items and more.

I rolled up a barbarian, Brec, at level 2. He's an artisan, worshipper of Cernunnos, and Escose native (far, far north). He was approached by a renowned merchant called Erynn who was going to travel to Orofaise to the south west. He was making a delivery of a special suit of armour to Dindraine, daughter of the king and hunter of the Questing Beast. Problem is, Erynn believed that thieves were watching him and would take the armour. Berc agreed to accompany him for 100gp, but Erynn stipulated that should they get list, Brec would get nothing.

On a frosty morn they set off on a 6 day journey to the city. On the first night they had no need to camp as they found a highland inn in which to rest. The inn was actually the meeting place for a group of cunning folk - all members of the Fellowship of Enchanters - a group in league with King Arthur and Merlin. The host was gracious and even supplied a (weak) potion for Brec's journey. They told him that brigands weren't really dangers in these parts - a recent crackdown had seen many arrested. Bless those Escose guards.

After bidding the friendly wizards farewell, the duo made their way past an ancient watchtower. Brec halted when he spotted tracks leading up to the tower. He identified them as Pech tracks - gnome-like creatures who blend heather to make strength potions. This was an ancient race not to be trifled with. "We should watch our backs," warned the barbarian, "A band of Pech would make short work of us." (These are HD4 beasties with a pretty ferocious attack - even one would be tough for Brec).

Shortly after they spotted a man fleeing across a bridge. Behind him were four Pech, hungry for blood. The two ducked behind cover. Brec felt guilty, but they would surely all be killed if they tried to intervene. Unfortunately, while three chased the fellow off, one Pech remained to guard the bridge. Not good.

"We mean you no harm," Brec said gently. He would try to charm his way across (not a bad cha 12 for a barbarian). He even rolled fairly well.
"The sorcerers," said the squat, bulky creature, "I will let you cross if you slay them." He was obviously talking about the cunning folk at the inn. There was no chance Brec would do that. Drawing his longsword, he leapt at the creature with a battle roar, rage in his eyes. The scrap was bloody and eventually Brec fell unconscious.

Brec woke up in a soft bed, a bearded man looking over him. He was back at the inn. The cunning folk had scared the Pech away and taken him in for the night. Thankfully Erynn was there too. Brec owed his lives to the fellowship and would see them repaid in one way or another.

The bridge was now overrun with Pech, so they had to find another way. Brec knew of a route through an abandoned town, a derelict victim to the dragonwar. It was 7 hours out of the way, but he didn't fancy another fight with multiple Pech.

The burned out town was eerily silent, but Berc could see nobody following them. They made good time through the town and decided to camp in the ruins. That night, when Berc was keeping watch, he spotted several people moving in the shadows. "Show yourselves," he boomed. Three leather-clad men with blades drawn stepped into the moonlight. "The armour," one said. Berc smirked and launched at them. The first was instantly decapitated while the others put up more of a fight. Blades danced, clashing in the silent air. The next fell, gutted by the barbarian longsword. The last threw down his blade. "Who sent you?" Brec cried, his blade at the assailant's throat.
"The Beetle," he stuttered. Brec came to regret what he did next. With a flash, the final assassin was dropped. "This armour better be worth it, merchant."

The proceeding days were uneventful, travelling the wilderness. In the final days they found a camp. It had been wrecked and blood was everywhere. A wolf feasted on a body, but soon padded away. "They could be in league with this Beetle," Erynn said. Brec nodded. "Not doing much now though." He spotted a locked chest. Smashing it open he found a metal moon ornament. Suddenly he could hear whispers and voices and soon realised that he was hearing the animals around him. "This could be useful," he said, stuffing it in his pack.

"You shouldn't steal," came a voice. A masked figure had entered the camp. He was dressed in black and the mask was pure white. His armour resembled a scarab.

"So you're the famous Beetle," Brec scoffed. The figure nodded before twirling his blade and charging the barbarian. Brec deftly dodged the blow and went into a full rage. He struck the assassin in the chest and sunk his blade inside. "We won't stop," the Beetle coughed, "Mordred sends his regards." His body flopped to the ground.

The rest of the journey went without issue and they arrived in Orofaise in tact. Erynn paid Brec the agreed money and went on his way.

Brec remembered his time with the wizards and reflected on his own place in the world. He hadn't thought much about the doings of Camelot up in Escose, but clearly these were dark times. Perhaps he now had a purpose. Maybe Camelot should be his next destination.

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